ABBA have teamed up with music mogul Simon Fuller for a new “live digital experience”, launching in 2018.
The Swedish pop group split in 1982 but have held brief reunions since, notably in 1986, 1999 and earlier this year. Fans have long hoped for a full live reunion, but speaking last year, member Björn Ulvaeus once again said that ABBA would never reform.
Spice Girls boss Fuller, Universal Music Group and ABBA have now announced what has been described as a “groundbreaking venture that will utilise the very latest in digital and virtual reality technology”.
“The aim is to create an original entertainment experience… which will enable a new generation of fans to see, hear, and feel ABBA in a way previously unimagined,” a press release adds.
Few details are known about what the project will mean in actual terms but it has been speculated that ABBA will appear as holograms. Billboard reports that Fuller “has been quietly investing in virtual reality technologies, developing hyper-realistic digital humans in the field of entertainment.”
The ABBA members’ creative involvement with the project has been confirmed. Benny Andersson says of the news: “We’re inspired by the limitless possibilities of what the future holds and are loving being a part of creating something new and dramatic here. A time machine that captures the essence of who we were. And are.”
Fuller adds: “The creativity and ideas flowing from the members of ABBA over the past few months have filled me with great excitement. We are exploring a new technological world, with Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence at the forefront, that will allow us to create new forms of entertainment and content we couldn’t have previously imagined.”
Earlier this year, the four members of ABBA reunited for a special 50th anniversary performance, singing ‘The Way Old Friends Do’ at a private party in a Stockholm hotel.
The group previously reunited for the opening of an ABBA-themed restaurant in Stockholm. It was the first time all four members had been seen in public together for eight years, though on that occasion they did not perform.
ABBA formed in 1972, and rose to global fame after winning the Eurovision Song Contest two years later with ‘Waterloo’. They soon had numerous hits to their name, and have now sold 380 million records around the world.